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How do we measure Remote Success?

Posted on: May 13th, 2020 by Monika No Comments

The business world doesn’t stop, even if it feels like it at times, but you know who really doesn’t stop? Your competition and they will gain new clients, clients that could have acquired.

I feel bad for companies who freeze their business development hiring efforts because those very companies will feel the effects later in the year.

This pandemic has forced us to embrace a remote work environment. Personally, I have preached the concept for years, especially in the industry that I operate in where companies are selling technology enabled solutions. Why would people have to come to an office, other than socializing, gathering and being able to see each other? Yes, it’s good for morale (at times) but you can build a healthy company culture even when employees are not physically together.

And before you feel that I am opposed to being with people, let me explain. I am probably one of the most sociable people you will meet and not many folks I know enjoy company as much as I do. But when it comes to work though, I am most effective by myself. It’s not that I’m not a team player, I am but I don’t need to see people in-person to ask for advice, get or give guidance. And, I also don’t have to see my prospects and clients in order to successfully sell. As a matter of fact, I have been working remote for 17 years and have been able to acquire clients all around the US and internationally without a problem. I had a client for 5 years and didn’t meet here until year 3 and it was perfectly fine. And what do we have all the systems for (CRM, Workflow management) if we still feel we all have to be in one room?

Boudouaou Hiring during this crisis

The other day a recruiter told me that they were not hiring until they can see people again. That’s just crazy talk to me during times where we really don’t know when that will be the case. He said that it would be hard to determine if that person can sell without meeting them. To me the question is, how can you determine if a person can sell when you actually meet them in-person?

The May 7th Revenue Collective Benchmarking Report observed that “Most companies using Revenue or Bookings as the KPI for returning to normal business operations gingerly but a healthy chunk (33%) have not defined “normal” at all which puts the team at risk.”

Use Assessment Tools!

I believe what people are afraid of is that they feel that the invisible (or what seems to be invisible) cannot be measured. In fact, there are many sales assessment tools out there to measure whether a sales person will be good at what they are doing.

Unless, you are a business where you only sell to people in-person, most of the transactions will take place over the phone or via Zoom/Skype, etc. So, what better way to measure whether a sales person will be successful than observing how they conduct themselves during the interview process.

For years, I have been telling my clients to not only invite candidates to on-site interviews, but to extensively spend time with them on the phone, to see how they follow up after interviews (because how they do it during the interview process will be how they conduct themselves following up with prospects & clients).

Establish KPIs!

Let’s face it. We have all been a bit lazy and complacent and many companies have been flying by the seat of their pants. They used measures such as “how many times the sales person was on the phone when the manager walked by”. Yes, you know who you are and now is the time to change it. Once we establish Key Performance Indicators, such as…..

·        How many prospects have you researched this week?

·        How many touchpoints with prospects took place?

·        How many actual conversations have you had?

·        How many times did you agree on a next step?

…we will have a much clearer picture of productivity and success.

Now, we are forced to operate in an environment where productivity will matter more than anything else. Sales is measured by numbers like no other profession, it shouldn’t matter where you are in the world as long as you have a computer and an internet connection.

To Succeed in this Crisis takes Courage

Posted on: May 11th, 2020 by Monika No Comments

Nobody knows what will happen once we open the economy up again, but one thing is for sure. Business as usual it won’t be. Only the companies and executives who understand that this is a challenge as well as an opportunity will be able to succeed.

The best way to go about moving forward is to look at this as a blank slate. If we go into this 3rd quarter, treating is as such and doing all the things we did in the previous years, we will fail. This is a new environment and it’s a great opportunity to start from scratch. Yes, I know. It might be painful because it’s so much easier to just plug away and apply proven methods, but approaches that worked in the past won’t cut it any more.

People are looking for compassion, empathy and alignment. All things that successful sales people already apply, but in this novel situation sales people who pitch without regard for these new conditions will not only fail, they will become obsolete. If we as sales people can help our clients and prospects through this crisis without pushing an agenda, without selling but rather advising, those clients will be loyal to us for a long time. So, let’s break it down a bit on how we should shape the landscape.

Courage

It’s a lot easier to continue on a proven path, or to wait until things become better than taking action. True leaders will seize this opportunity. They will not wait around, but they will pave the path for a new economy.

If everybody just sits around waiting until “this is over”, it won’t be!

Curiosity

Every good sales person is curious, but the key will be to be curious without pushing an agenda. These days it will be all about your client’s and prospect’s world, understanding what they are going through, what challenges they face and how YOU as the sales person can support them.

Empathy

First and foremost, we need to show authentic empathy. Nobody wants to be sold to and this couldn’t be more accurate during this crisis. We need to show that we care, that we will do whatever it takes and to truly partner with our clients. This means an even deeper understanding of their challenges and their business. Many of our clients and prospects are in a situation where they had to change their business model to stay afloat, so learn about those challenges by asking meaningful and mindful questions.

Guidance

If we are in a position where we can provide guidance to our clients, we will be viewed as experts, as partners as somebody who truly cares. It takes a lot to become an expert. We need to keep abreast of industry developments and of economic changes, so there will be a lot more reading, doing research and digging as opposed to picking up the phone or shooting off an email.

Seizing Opportunities

Some industries are still flourishing and there is new business to be found, but we won’t find it the way we found it last year or the years before. Strategic planning will become essential. No more throwing things against the wall, waiting until something sticks. Without the underlying principles of compassion, empathy and strategy, nothing will stick. 

Pay It Forward!

It’s time for all of us to band together and pay it forward. To expect less and do more. To provide solutions that are profitable yet meaningful, to partner with our prospects and clients to help each other be successful. If we as people and as sales people band together, we can get this economy moving again, but it will not only take a village, it will take an entire business community to shift their thinking.